Prologue

Mess Hall, USS Voyager

"Aaaah, Mister Vulcan! How are you this evening?"

Ensign Vorik looked up from his dinner to find Neelix, the jolly Talaxian morale officer, standing over him. "I am well, Mr. Neelix," he replied in his usual unemotional Vulcan manner. "Do you need something?"

"I was just about to ask you the same thing!" Neelix exclaimed excitedly.

Vorik shook his head and continued eating. He was not in the mood to be bothered, least of all by the overly-cheerful Talaxian who called himself the ship's cook. Neelix was obviously here to ask his opinion on tonight's cooking.

"If you're here to ask me about the quality of the food that's here in front of me," Vorik said coldly, "I find it...adequate."

"Just adequate, huh?" Neelix asked.

Vorik kept a straight face. "You have been asking everyone in this room the same question," he said. "It was only a matter of time that you would approach me with it."

"Well then," Neelix said. "I'm glad you find it adequate. But that's not why I'm here." The Talaxian pulled up a chair and sat down. "D'you know, something just occurred to me earlier this week. I'll bet you'll find it interesting."

Vorik rolled his eyes (in a very Vulcan manner, of course). This had better be important…

"Has anyone ever told you..." Neelix paused and leaned in. "That you and Ensign Kim look a lot alike?"

The young Vulcan ensign stopped mid-chew. What? He swallowed before answering. "That is impossible. We look nothing alike."

Neelix was about to speak when Vorik's comm badge chirped. Torres to Ensign Vorik. Please report to engineering immediately.

"Acknowledged," Vorik said. He stood to leave.

"Perhaps we'll discuss this some other time then, Ensign?" Neelix asked, but Vorik was already out the door.


Holodeck, USS Voyager

"So, Captain Proton, you think you can foil my plan!"

Doctor Chaotica grinned maliciously as Captain Proton and his sidekick Buster Kincaid drew their weapons.

"Oh, I don't think so, Chaotica," Captain Proton said confidently. "I know I can."

"HA! We'll soon see about that! LONZAK! BRING OUT MY NEW SUPERWEAPON!"

"Yes, Sire." Chaotica's portly henchman strode over to an alcove at the back of the room and threw back the curtain to reveal—

All senior officers please report to the bridge.

"Aw man! Not now!" Lt. Jgd. Tom Paris and Ensign Harry Kim groaned. "Computer end program." The black-and-white holoprogram dissolved, replacing the retro-sci-fi throne room with an empty holodeck. Tom and Harry hastily stowed their props and made their way to Voyager's bridge. If Captain Janeway had to call them away from their down time like this, it had to be serious.

"Let's go, Harry. We can't keep 'em waiting."